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Asres Mare’s Bullying Statements: The Need to Stand Solidly Behind Eskinder Nega and Masresha Setie

Editor’s note : The view reflected in the article is the writer’s view and do not necessarily reflect the view of borkena.com

Eskinder _ Fano _ Masresja Setie  _  Asres
Eskinder Nega (file)

By Mekuria 

Bullying is a wicked act aimed at causing lasting harm to individuals. It can result in emotional distress, low self-esteem, and even physical harm, especially when directed at young children. Bullying is not limited to children and young people; society uses it as a means to diminish others’ social status to derive pleasure or achieve other goals. Through collective efforts promoting kindness, empathy, and respect, and by holding individuals engaged in bullying accountable, we can prevent the negative impacts and reduce the frequency of bullying.

I was inspired to write this piece as a reminder for Amharas to reflect on the bullying remarks made by Fano Asres Marie in a recent interview with Ghion Media, which I came across on Roha TV. Ghion Media is a social media platform managed by Minalachew, who is known for his controversial content, such as the conversation with Mota blackmailing Ethio 360. Minalachew, who claims to be from Gojam, has become the de facto Diaspora representative for the Gojam Fano group led by Zemene Kasse and Asres Mare.  The recent statement by Fano leader Marshet Tsehaye, aired on Ghion media, is concerning too. He mentioned that Fano would not confront the TPLF even if they entered the Amhara region, indicating a lack of concern for Wolqayit and Raya. General Tadesse Worede and TPLF media are praising the Gojam Fano, insinuating that Wolqayit is solely a Gonder matter.

We are aware of the regionalism within the Amhara community, which is acceptable. It has existed in the past and continues to exist, and we must acknowledge this fact. This phenomenon is natural in every society and can be observed among Tigres, Oromos, and Somalis as well in other Ethiopia. It may manifest itself in various ways, whether overt or subtle, depending on the circumstances; it can fade particularly when faced with external pressures and may become more pronounced during times of normalcy.

However, regionalism does not imply a lack of sensibleness or of unity among Amharas or an inability to work together on fundamental principles that cannot be compromised. Asres Marie, with an apparent reference to Eskinder Nega and Masresha Setie, hurled all sorts of name-calling without directly naming them. He said there is no such Fano army known as the Amhara People Army (APA) in Gojam indirectly referring to Eskinder Nega and Masresha Setie’s group despite we saw a video, a few weeks ago, Gojam Abay Sheleqo Fanos expressing loyalty to Eskinder’s leadership. He reiterated that there is no Fano unit operating in Gojam that is not controlled and managed by him, Zemene Kasse, or Shaleqa Zinabu. He said there may be three or four people running here and there but have no military or political movement in the Gojam Fano outside their control. He labeled Eskinder and Masresha’s group as thieves, treasonous, and bandits and boldly stated that his Fano army would decisively eliminate them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvXz8ErVhsk).

Ever since Eskinder arrived in Gojam, he has helped the Fano movement to spread rapidly without causing any harm to anyone. Before the April 2023 Fano movement, between May 2002 and September 2022, Asres Mare and Zemene Kasse were in hiding, with their whereabouts unknown, let alone making an impact on the Fano Movement. Zemene Kasse was arrested in September 2022 in Bahir Dar while trying to negotiate with the PP. The sudden appearance of Eskinder in Gojam motivated the Gojam youth and was the main reason for the release of Zemene Kasse from prison. We should give credit where it is due. Asres Mare talks about working with non-Amhara ethnic groups to advance the Fano cause but is firm in criticizing Eskinder and his group as bandits and bandas. Fellow Amharas, this is not acceptable. Eskinder is known for his commitment and truthfulness. It is a shame to label Eskinder in a way that does not reflect his character. Zemene Kasse should denounce the statements made by Asres Mare if he is not part of this clandestine smear campaign against Eskinder and Masresha Setie. Shaleqa Zinabu should distance himself from individuals like Asres Marie. The records of Eskinder and Masresha Setie are glaringly clear. Both suffered under the TPLF regime no less than Zemene Kasse and Asres Mare, if not more. Let alone Eskinder and Masresha, the Fano leadership that emerges ahead should include individuals like Meskerem Abera, Sintayehu Chekol, Christian Adele, and others who have selflessly contributed to the Amhara cause.

Eskinder’s detractors are not limited to Zemene’s group. Dr. Abdella, the spokesperson for Asegid, in collusion with Zemedkun Bekele, is engaged in tarnishing names. Zemedkun Bekele tries to undermine Eskinder by claiming that every Fano leader left their family to join the Fano movement and Eskinder is no different. He is not comparing himself to leaving his family in Germany to join the Fano. That is an unfair comparison. Zemedkun states that he is Oromo but is fighting for the Amhara cause. While this is acceptable, if an Oromo is trying to create disunity among Fanos, then Amharas need to reject this trans-ethnic support from the likes of Zemedkun. Zemedkun and some naive Amhara who work with him are the ones who created a rift among the Shewa Fanos. I want to ask Asegid, one of the Shewan Fanos leaders, do you truly believe that Zemedkun Bekele cares more for Amhara than Eskinder?

Conclusion

Amharas in Ethiopia, the Diaspora, and other Ethiopians should reject the “my way or the highway” attitude of some people. The presence of Eskinder in the Fano leadership serves as a check and balance against any arrogance, such as that of Asres Mare within the Fano movement. Eskinder is knowledgeable about the individuals involved in the Ethiopian political movement, and those with questionable backgrounds are attempting to undermine his influence. This should be rejected. Ultimately, the Diaspora should rally behind Eskinder. The Diaspora’s best policy can only be advanced with people like Eskinder, who is centre-right.

Eskinder and his group should focus on building their army, engaging in military and political training and raising funds. They should strengthen their existing connections in Gojam, Wello, Gonder, and Shewa. If a joint operation is carefully planned between Wello and Shewa, it could alone potentially remove Abiy Ahmed from power. Eskinder spent time trying to create a pan-Amhara Force, which initially served its purpose but now needs to focus on his group. Things will take care of the intended goal, as the saying goes, if you take care of the coins, the dollars will take care of themselves.

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com


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1 COMMENT

  1. A Rebuttal to the Opinion in Support of Eskinder Nega Against Asres Mare Damtie

    The opinion piece by Mekuria advocating for Eskinder Nega over Asres Mare fails to address the core issues within the Amhara Fano movement and instead propagates divisiveness that undermines the collective fight against injustice and discrimination.

    Mekuria accuses Asres Mare of bullying and making inflammatory remarks. However, it is crucial to understand that Asres Mare’s statements stem from a concern for the unity and integrity of the Fano movement. In a time that requires unity and mutual understanding, labeling his criticisms as bullying without context distorts his intent, which is to prevent the fragmentation of the movement. Asres Mare’s emphasis on regional unity is not an attack but a call for cohesive action against a common adversary.

    Meanwhile, Eskinder Nega’s role in the Fano movement has been portrayed as purely positive, yet the reality is more complex. His actions of offering lumpsum monetary incentives to fighters create internal divisions and shift focus from the larger cause to personal gain. This tactic undermines the solidarity needed to effectively combat Abiy Ahmed’s government. Collaboration, not competition, should be the foundation of the movement.

    Mekuria also overlooks the significant contributions of leaders like Asres Mare Damtie and Zemene Kassie, who have been pivotal in the Fano movement’s evolution. The claim that their impact was negligible until Eskinder’s arrival is disingenuous. Both leaders have faced immense challenges, and their strategies have been instrumental in mobilizing support and creating the Fano movement from scratch. Dismissing their efforts diminishes the sacrifices they have made and shows the writer’s ignorance and moral decay.

    Moreover, acknowledging regionalism within the Amhara community is essential, but it should not be used to justify division. Mekuria suggests that regionalism naturally leads to conflict, yet history has shown that the Amhara people can unite under a common cause. Asres Mare’s call for regional unity is a plea for solidarity, not a divisive tactic. Collaborative efforts across regions have historically strengthened the movement, and this unity is crucial now more than ever.

    The future of the Fano movement depends on inclusive leadership that respects and integrates diverse perspectives. Mekuria’s narrow focus on Eskinder Nega disregards the potential of other leaders who gave birth to the struggle and have also demonstrated commitment and resilience. Acknowledging and incorporating the strengths of various leaders, including Eskinder, will fortify the movement. However, engaging in support of Eskinder Nega by spreading blatant blasphemy against strong and determined leaders like Zemene Kassie and Asres Mare Damtie, as well as many other pioneer Fano leaders, will surely have a negative and divisive effect on the common goal of the Amhara struggle.

    In conclusion, the opinion supporting Eskinder Nega against Asres Mare fails to address the importance of unity and collaboration within the Fano movement. It misrepresents Asres Mare’s intentions and contributions while promoting a divisive narrative. The path forward requires recognizing the value of all leaders, fostering inclusive dialogue, and working collectively towards the common goal of justice and equality for the Amhara people.

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